Saved from cancer curse by screening

A BREAST cancer survivor who has lost several family members to the disease has voiced her support for the mobile screening unit that helped saved her life.

The unit, which was based at Chorley hospital when Sue Francis was screened, has a new home for the next three months in Leyland.

This has been possible due to a partnership with South Ribble Borough Council providing land adjacent to Leyland Civic Centre, NHS Central Lancashire funding the service and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust providing the service.

Sue, 52, of Whittle-le-Woods, was diagnosed with breast cancer after having a mammogram two years ago.

She said: “I lost my mum, two aunties, two great aunties and both my grandmas to breast cancer so I would have gone to the ends of the earth to have a mammogram. But being able to have it on my doorstep did make it so much easier.

“I regularly check my breasts but the cancer I had was really deep down so I didn’t notice it myself. I was just called for my first routine mammogram at the mobile unit by letter. Luckily the cancer was in an early stage and I had surgery and radiotherapy.

“But the consultant said that if it had been six months later then the cancer would have spread. I can honestly say that the mammogram saved my life and I will be eternally grateful that I went for that appointment.

“I know it seems crazy now, but on the day I found out I had cancer I got dressed up that evening and me and my husband, David, went out for dinner at our favourite restaurant,” says Sue Francis, 52, of Whittle-le-Woods.

“The breast care nurse at Chorley hospital advised us to enjoy ourselves and not discuss the diagnosis till the next day. It was the best piece of advice we could have had. I was in a complete state of shock and had a much clearer head the next day to think about it properly.”

In central Lancashire the number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer, dying from breast cancer and surviving five years after diagnosis are all poorer than the national average.

Between 2007 and 2009 there were 268 deaths from breast cancer in central Lancashire and 59 in South Ribble.

Despite this nearly a third of women eligible for screening did not take up the offer.

Women registered with some GPs in Leyland and Lostock Hall aged between 50 and 53 years of age will receive their first invitation to attend for a mammogram at the mobile unit.